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Even FSBOs Want to Do Business with People They Know, Like and Trust

May 05 2017

hdc fsbos business like know trust

Real estate agents either love or hate working with FSBO listings, and due to the internet, advice on selling homes is more accessible than ever before. Despite this, only 8 percent of home sales in 2016 were FSBO (2016 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers), the lowest percentage of FSBO transactions since before 1981.

One possible explanation for this decrease is how complicated and time consuming real estate transactions can be. Despite an owner having all the necessary forms, documents, contracts, and disclosures, the nuanced nature of the forms can make correctly completing them a challenge. Finding a buyer can also be difficult if the seller isn't readily available to conduct showings due to work, family duties, or any of the other things that compose ordinary life. And then when they do find a buyer, FSBOs have a median selling price of only $185K, compared with the agent assisted median of $245K (2016 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers).

As a real estate agent, you can be very successful in the FSBO market if you're willing to be patient, persistent, and to understand that it may take months of check-ins and free advice to successfully convert a FSBO into a client.

The FSBO Mindset

By the time a seller posts their listing in the newspaper or puts a sign up in their yard, they've already done a lot of research and are probably feeling pretty confident and optimistic about their sale. These DIYers will need some time to realize just how much work goes into selling a home. According to the 2016 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, only 7 percent of FSBOs chose "did not want to deal with an agent" as the most important reason for selling their home themselves. The largest group (39 percent) chose "did not want to pay a commission or fee."

The Human Connection

As most FSBOs are looking to retain equity, building trust and forming a human connection is crucial to winning a FSBO client. Calling, texting, and emailing are all acceptable ways to get in touch with a FSBO prospect—but, whenever possible, knock on their door. You'll stand out and have a stronger chance to connect if you meet them in person.

Regardless of how you reach out, offer them a free staging guide or a FSBO checklist to help them keep track of the multitude of things they need to do to sell their home. Provide information and value so that when they do decide to hire an agent, they'll think of you.

Continual Outreach

Don't contact your FSBO prospect two or three times and give up. Reaching out and providing helpful advice and resources throughout their transaction is the key to winning their business.

Some resources or topics you may want to consider when you create your FSBO marketing plan include:

  1. FSBO Safety Tips: protecting yourself, your family, your home, and your possessions.
  2. Getting your home ready to sell: renovations, repairs, decluttering, and staging.
  3. Scheduling an appraisal and pricing your home.
  4. Avoiding possible liability issues.
  5. Gathering your documents: contract, lead-based paint disclosure, seller disclosures, and homeowner association documents.
  6. Photographing your listing.
  7. Posting your listing online: MLS, FSBO sites, social media, property website, Craigslist, etc.
  8. Marketing materials: flyers, signs, brochures.
  9. Screening potential buyers and the importance of pre-approval.
  10. Hosting showings and open houses.
  11. Earnest money.
  12. Home inspections: what to expect.
  13. Negotiating your sale.

Does it have to be all or nothing?

Even if a seller chooses to complete their transaction without hiring an agent to represent them, they may be open to a reduced service package for a lesser commission or a la carte services at fixed rates. For example, you can create listing flyers or offer to host an open house or attend showings that don't work with the seller's schedule. Creating a win-win situation can be the first step in building a relationship that can lead to a listing.

Remember, even if a FSBO prospect doesn't end up hiring you, they're likely to talk to other home sellers—many of whom will want a listing agent. By providing the FSBO with helpful resources and building trust, you may be able to generate referral business from them in the future.

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